The Research Process

Working on a Specific Project-

Finding the right information for a project can be confusing: here are some ideas to get you started:

  • First define your topic- know exactly what you want to research before you start using databases or the web. You can use encyclopaedia and dictionaries to define and narrow down a topic. It also makes life easier if you list some keywords or use a mindmap to describe your topic and issues around it. When choosing keywords don't forget:
    Synonyms and related terms e.g. video art/digital art
    American spellings e.g. Organisation/Organization, Theatre/Theater
  • Next think about the scope of your topic- things like language, date, location, quality. Do you want references to current or to older historical material only, in English or in other languages? Are you looking for international information or local research? Don't forget that some information resources are of better academic quality than others.
  • Think about the different types and sources of information- Books (ebooks, dictionaries, encyclopaedia)/ejournals/databases/Google Scholar/newspapers/magazines/blogs etc. Choose and locate ones that best suit your assignment.
  • Plan your search- using your keywords and chosen information resources.
  • Evaluate information- when you have found enough information from different sources you need to evaluate it to make sure that it is useful and relevant before applying it to your topic.
  • Record details of each resource- Save or note down the details of each resource that you plan to use (journal article/book details etc). You will need this information later to create your bibliography and reference list. The purpose of this is to show your supervisor the material that you have read around the subject and to avoid plagiarism (copying without acknowledgement). Each School follows its own citation style e.g. Art and Design follows the Chicago citation style. You can find further information and guides for using the Chicago style in the library at call no. 808

Previous Expanding your Research

Next Using Databases

Back to main menu

Back to Top